Creating Scale

Pen Maker Signs Sports Deal

Maier Sports skier Source PR 17625620
Branching out to outdoor clothing is paying off for Schwan-Stabilo.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Schwan-Stabilo’s purchase of Maier Sports could boost its fast-growing outdoor equipment division.

  • Facts


    • The sports market is increasingly dominated by a small number of large companies.
    • Many mid-sized companies such as Maier Sports find it increasingly difficult to eke out enough market share to survive.
    • Critics say sports equipment has become boring and interchangeable in the eyes of consumers.
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The history of Schwan-Stabilo began exactly 150 years ago with when Gustav Adam Schwanhäusser bought the bankrupt Nuremberg pencil company Grossberger & Kurz. Since then, the family-owned company based in Heroldsberg in Bavaria has evolved into one of the world’s largest producers of markers, highlighter pens and cosmetic pencils.

Now, the  Schwanhäusser family is pulling out its checkbook again, acquiring the German sports clothing brand Maier Sports for an undisclosed amount. With the deal, Schwan-Stabilo supplements its fast-growing sports division, the third revenue pillar alongside cosmetics and markers.

Schwan-Stabilo acquired the backpack brand Deuter a few years ago, then added outdoor clothing and gear outfitter, Ortovox. The company recently generated about €100 million ($110.1 million) from sports-related products, or almost 20% of total sales volume. The sports business has enjoyed double-digit growth for years and strongly outperforms the rest of the company.

The deal, overseen by managing director Sebastian Schwanhäusser is part of a wider trend of consolidation in sportswear.  Largely unnoticed by customers, ever-larger groups are taking over the market. Japanese sports equipment company Asics bought Haglöfs, the largest supplier of outdoor equipment in Scandinavia. Meanwhile, the Bavarian outdoor footwear company, Hanwag, the Hamburg outdoor retail chain, Globetrotter, and the outdoor clothing and equipment brand Fjällräven belong to the Swedish Fenix Outdoor Group. Finnish Amer Sports owns Arcteryx and Salomon, while U.S.-based VF Corp own North Face and Timberland.

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